President Biden signs bill making Juneteenth, Emancipation Day, a national holiday

Jun 17, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

President Joe Biden signed a new law Thursday afternoon June 17 recently passed by Congress to make Juneteenth, the commemoration of the end of U.S. slavery, a federal holiday.

The legislation, officially named The Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, was approved by the House of Representatives Wednesday in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion, with just 14 nay votes by Republicans. The Senate passed it unanimously a day earlier.

President Biden commenting on the bipartisan nature of the bill said, “I hope this is the beginning of a change in the way we deal with one another.”

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

The new law mandates that every federal employee gets a day off on June 19. That date is a significant day in American history because June 19, 1865, is when the last enslaved people in the confederate U.S. states learned from Union soldiers in Galveston, Texas, that they were free. This came 2 1/2 years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

[Note: The remaining enslaved people in two Union border states, Delaware and Kentucky, would not be emancipated until December 18, 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery was announced.]

Related: How to celebrate Juneteenth in 2021

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is the oldest celebration of African American freedom, and one that is already officially recognized by almost every state in the union. It is a state or ceremonial holiday in 47 states as well as Washington, D.C.

New York and Illinois made it official this year, declaring June 19 a state and school holiday. In years when the date falls on a weekend, it will be observed the following Monday. In recent years, a growing number of corporations have begun to observe Juneteenth with paid days off for employees. They include tech giant Google, carmakers such as GM and Ford, and retailers Best Buy and J.C. Penney.

Featured image of a Juneteenth Celebration parade in Denver by Joe Amon/The Denver Post/Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.